Sir Henry Besemer, British inventor and engineer, 1880.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Chromolithograph by Leslie Ward, (better known as 'Spy') of Sir Henry Besemer (1813-1898). In 1856, in response to demand for stronger cannon able to fire a new type of artillery shell in the Crimean War, he invented the Besemer proces, enabling molten pig-iron to be turned into steel by a blowing air through it in a tilting converter. This was the first proces that could produce large amounts of good quality steel cheaply. In 1859 Besemer established a steelworks in Sheffield, initially specialising in the manufacture of guns, and later in rails for the rapidly expanding railway network. From the magazine 'Vanity Fair'. Dimensions: 400mm x 270mm.